With the onset of October, online marketers are probably getting ready for upcoming holiday shopping and end-of-year business buying – and September web developments offer plenty of strategic insights. Watch Zach Michonski give Brafton’s recap of September’s biggest content marketing updates, complete with insights on what they could mean for your strategy. (You can also read our blog post below!)

Content investments rise

  • A report from Optify found successful brand marketers say content creation takes up the bulk of their time, with 30 percent spending more than 15 hours of their week on content.
  • What does this tell us?  Businesses should consider the competitive necessity of high-quality, diverse content creation, but those who find it a challenge to manage are not alone. IDG reports more than one-third use agencies for content marketing.

Web video consumption rises

  • Video content is particularly in demand, with comScore’s most recent numbers showing the audience for web videos is at an all-time high. According to the research firm, 188 million users now watch more than 47 billion videos in a month.
  • What does this tell us? Businesses need to get on board with video marketing or they miss reaching a large (and growing!) pool of consumers. Moreover, an IDG report from earlier this year found that marketers cite videos as one of the more effective content types they use, suggesting investments in high-quality branded videos pay off.

New SEO signals

  • Google announced that punctuation and symbols sometimes count for SEO. The search engine says it ALWAYS prioritizes high-quality results, but symbols such as the plus sign, dashes and dollar signs may impact rankings for queries when they could alter the meaning of searches. 
  • The company also unveiled a minor Panda update, though marketers are still holding their breath for the next iteration of Penguin update … A Tweet from Matt Cutts last Friday suggests the company is working on its link detection which could mean Penguin is on its way. As Cutts said

A small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results. 

  • Google also unveiled a new algorithm on September 14 that aims to bring more diverse domains to search result. While this could frustrate marketers who own SERPs for certain phrases, it means more sites will have the chance to win visibility around keywords supported by top content.
  • What does this tell us? Google is constantly evolving and marketers should take these Google changes to heart, as a report from eConsultancy found 87 percent of marketers call the search algorithm updates of the last 12-18 months “significant or highly significant.” Google won’t tolerate link schemes or shortcuts to SEO. Especially with rumors of a Penguin update, brands should focus on the most user-friendly strategies for building links. Here’s a tip straight from the search engine:

Question: So how can you engage more users and potentially increase merit-based inbound links? 

Answer: Create unique and compelling content on your site and the web in general

Social marketing updates emphasize visual layouts and content

  • Update: LinkedIn rolled out new Company Pages, which place a strong focus on shared social content. 
  • Update: Twitter unveiled a new profile layout for brands and users, that focuses on visual elements of social media. The new layout prioritizes an image or graphic from brands, similar to the Facebook Timeline “cover photo.”
  • What does this tell us? Social networks are focusing on presentation, and brands should do the same. Presentation counts with social (and content) marketing. Companies can take advantage of the new LinkedIn and Twitter formats and put their personalities forward.

Those are September’s content marketing updates – stay tuned for next month.